Category Archives: Recipes


This recipe caught my eye when I was researching ciambelle. It is in Bartolomeo Scappi’s The Opera in Book VI which was written for the sick or invalid. I don’t pretend to know the in’s and out’s of humoral theory but apparently sugar was good for the sick.

When I realised what this recipe really was, I knew that I had to try it. It is from The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi 1571 and can be found in Book VI Recipe 139

The Original

“Per fare zuccarini a foggia di ciambelle

Piglisi zuccaro fino falto in polvere, & habbianosi chiare d’uove fresche battute, mettanosi in un catinello, & pongasi in esse chiare tanto zuccaro quanto ne possono portare, cioe che vengano in pasta soda, & d’essa pasta se ne faranno ciambelle, l’equali si pongano in una tortiera a cuocere che sia spoluerizzata di farina, o onta di cera bianca, faccianosi cuocere con poco foco sotto, & al quanto piu di sopra, vogliono poca cuocitura,

percioche per vigor delle chiare d’uova sgonsiano, & rimangono leggiere; con esse si puo mettere un poco di acqua di rosi, o muschio a beneplacito.” (1)


My Translation using John Florio’s Dictionary (2)

“For making ​zuccarini ​in the fashion of ciambelle

Take fine sugar reduced to a powder, & have fresh beaten egg whites, put them in a (shallow pan), & put with the egg whites as much sugar as they are able to bear, that is that it comes to a stiff dough, & with this dough make ciambelle, the same amounts are put in a torte pan and cook that it be dusted with flour, or else with wax white, make it cook with a small fire below, & and some measure of it above, they will require a little baking because by reason of the liveliness of the egg whites to swell & lift up light; with these things you may put a little rosewater, or else musk and good will and pleasure.” 



My Redaction                                                                                    Printable Version

  • 2 egg whites
  • Castor Sugar equal to double the weight of the egg whites
  • 1 tsp. Rosewater

First, here in America we do not have castor sugar. Castor sugar is a finer grind than granulated sugar but not as fine as confectioner’s sugar. You can use store bought confectioner’s sugar but it does have cornstarch. This is fine to use as it will not hurt your meringues in anyway but I was trying to recreate Scappi’s meringue so I chose to gring the sugar in a mortar until it was as fine as I wanted. Feel free to use a spice/coffee grinder for a faster method.

Scappi would have used ounces and the 12oz. pound but I actually used grams because they are more accurate.

After you have ground the sugar a little finer, crack your eggs whites into a bowl on a scale. Remember this amount. Put the egg whites into your mixing bowl and add double the amount of sugar. For example: my egg whites weighed 112 grams so I will need 224 grams of sugar.

Start beating the egg whites until they reach the soft peak stage. Start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time and allow it to become mixed in before adding more. Keep doing this until all the sugar has been added. Add in the rosewater and continue whipping until they become glossy and form stiff peaks.

Scappi used a syringe for making fanciful shapes with batter into hot oil and for butter. I experimented with using a spoon, shaping them by hand but using a cake decorating bag and tip was by far the easiert to use with the best results. I think it is entirely plausible that Scappi would have used this syringe to shape his zuccarini into ciambelle.

Syringe Scappi


Preheat the oven to 275º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form your zuccarini. I made mine about 2-3 inches in diameter. Bake them for 10-15 minutes until the surface is set. Cover them with a second piece of parchment paper and bake for another 20 minutes. If they release from the paper quickly and easily they are done. If they stick give them another 5 minutes or so.

zuccarini cropped


1) Scappi, Bartolomeo. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi: L’Arte et Prudeza D’un Maestro Cuoco (The Art and Craft of a Master Cook) (1570). Translated with commentary by Terrence Scully. Toronto Canada. University of Toronto Press Inc. 2008. Print.

2) Florio, John. Queen Anna’s New World of Words or Dictionarie of the Italian and English Tongues. 1611

3) Retrieved August 3, 2019. Plate 13

Aunt Jan’s Banana Bread

I love banana bread! Especially warm from the oven with lots of butter. When I was newly married, I tried to find a banana bread recipe that was like the banana bread I had in college. Every recipe I tried was either dry, tastless or both. Then, several years later I was visiting my Aunt Jan and she had banana bread. It was delicious!!!! I have used this recipe ever since. I’m not sure if this is a vintage Betty Crocker recipe or a recipe that she got from my grandmother but I really don’t care. This is the only recipe I have found that is moist and very banana-y.

Ingredients                                                                                                          Print

  • 2c. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2c. Shortening
  • 1c. Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1c. Mashed Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/2c. Milk

The first thing you need to do, an hour or so before you want to start your bread, is measure 1 tbsp. of white or cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and add whole milk to equal 1/2 cup. This is a “quick” way to clabber the milk and get a sort of mild sour/tart flavor. It will look kind of chunky and thick.IMG_0655

Set aside the milk and measure the flour, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift once. Set this aside and take your bananas and peel and mash them. NOTE: Black bananas give the best flavor. The more ripe the bananas are the more concentrated the sugars so there will a more pronounced banana flavorMy husband likes to say that if you can pour the banana out of the peel then it is about right. Two bananas is about 1 cup of mashed pulp.

Grease one large loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350º.

Put the shortening into a large bowl and add the sugar. Beat with and electric mixer until the sugar is incorporated.


Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. IMG_0657

Now, add 1/3 of the flour and mix thoroughly. IMG_0660

Add 1/3 of the milk and mix. IMG_0659

Add 1/3 of the bananas and mix. IMG_0661

Continue by adding half of the remaining flour, milk and bananas, mixing in between each addition. Continue adding the remaining ingredients alternately and mixing thoroughly between each.IMG_0662


Pour into your bread pan and bake for 60-70 minutes. IMG_0663

Test by using a butterknife inserted into the highest part of the bread. If it has only a few crumbs clinging to it, your banana bread is done.



Grammies Rice Pudding

When I was growing up, my parents were divorced and my mother had to work. Everyday my brother and I went to my grandmother’s while my mother was working. My two cousin’s were also at my grammies with us.

Everyday at lunchtime, my grammie had a homemade meal for us. We rarely had sandwiches but sometimes we had grilled hotdogs. Mostly we had homemade vegetable soup, chicken soup, pasta and sauce, potato soup….you get the idea.

My gram made us desserts too. The two I remember clearly are peppermint pears and rice pudding. I LOVED my gram’s rice pudding! It is not very sweet at all but still so good. So for today’s Historical Bite I would like to share my grandmother’s recipe for Rice Pudding.

My Version

  • 2 c. Cooked rice
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 1/2 c. milk
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a one and a half quart casserole.

Add the water to the cooked rice and warm gently. Simmer until all the water is absorbed by the rice. Add the milk and boil gently for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl large enough to hold the egg mixture and the rice mixture. Add a small amount of the rice mixture to the eggs stirring to distribute the heat and slowly warm the eggs. adding even moreAdd another small amount of rice mixture again and again until about 1/2 of the rice mixture has been added and the temperature of the eggs feels warm. Add the remaining rice mixture and mix thoroughly.

adding more, rice pudding

Pour this into the casserole. Add the raisins and give a gentle fold through. Sprinkle with as much cinnamon as desired. I personally do not think there is such a thing as too much cinnamon but….

I serve this with chilled whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

I hope you enjoy this Historical Bite from my childhood!

Potato Soup

It’s been chilly here the past few days and when it’s cold I always want a comfort food. This next historical bite is from my childhood. It is a recipe that my great grandmother made for her children and that, in turn, my grandmother made for us.

A little background: my grandmother used to babysit my brother, my two cousins and me before/after school and during the summer. I do remember those days fondly and I love my grammie to pieces. One of my memories is when she used to make this dish on a cold day for lunch. After, she would make a fire and we would all (4 of us) pile into her lap in her chair in front of the fire and snuggle.

My grandmother was born in 1919 and her mother was born in 1898. My great grandmother is of Irish decent and she made this recipe for her large family. My grammie said that she doesn’t know if her mother created this or if her grandmother taught her mother . Anyway, on to the recipe.

Disclaimer: My husband disagrees that this is a potato soup. He was a little hesitant when I first made it but now he loves it as much as I do. So give it a try.

Printable Recipe


  • 1 pound of ground hamburger
  • 4-5 cups beef broth
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in bite size pieces
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 bay leave
  • seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1 stick butter, softened, optional
  • 1/2 c. flour, optional

Start by browning the meat in a pot or if you are using a higher fat hamburger in a frying pan so it is easier to drain off the fat. NOTE: I use onion powder because they bother my husband but if you prefer, use a small onion instead of the powder.

After you have drained the fat, add the diced onion and cook until translucent. If you want to use garlic instead of garlic powder add the minced garlic when the onion is almost done. If you are using the powders, do not add yet.

When the onions and garlic (if using) are done, add in the beef broth. I have used water and bullion in a pinch. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the potatoes and carrots. Stir in the salt, pepper, oregano,bay leaf and if using onoin powder and garlic powder.

Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to maitain a simmer for about an hour. If you prefer your soup a little thicker, like I do, mix equal amounts of butter and flour (this is called buerre manie) and add it to your soup off of the heat. Stir it in and it will thicken.

My grammie always served this on a plate with butter and we mashed everything all together. She had homemade bread, slathered with butter and  my grandfather would put a mouthful of the mashed soup on the bread and eat them together. Don’t knock it till you try it! Pure Bliss on a cold snowy day!


Dough for Stuffed Ciambelle

This is once again from my favorite historical chef, Scappi. The dough is unusual in that it uses warm goat’s milk and butter. The goat’s milk gives it a little tang but warming the milk gives the dough a phyllo-like finished texture. Using a warm liquid will denature the protein in the flour making the gluten molecules form in rounds rather than oblong. This in turn creates a tender, pliable dough. Adding fat like butter keeps the flour from absorbing too much liquid and creates a flaky like product when baked.

Original Recipe (1)

“Poi impastinsi libre tre di fiora di farina, con dicci oncie di latte di capra tiepido, & quattro oncie di mollica di pane imbeverata in esso latto, sei rofsi d’ova, quattro oncie di butiro, & sale a bastanza, ben menata che sara la pasta, giungendoli nel menarla altre quattro onciedi butiro in piu volte….”


Then make a paste of three pounds of meal of flour, with ten ounces of warm goat’s milk, & four ounces of breadcrumbs soaked in this milk, 6 egg yolks, four ounces of butter & enough salt, & mix well by hand (knead) and when it shall be dough, add in the mix another further four ounces of butter…

My Redaction

  • 18oz Semolina Flour
  • 5oz Warm Goat’s Milk
  • 2oz. Breadcrumbs soaked in Milk
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 4oz. Butter
  • Salt
stuffed ciambelle, rolling the dough

Rolling out two ounce lump

Warm the milk gently and butter until about 120º and add breadcrumbs. Measure out the semolina and salt, mixing to combine. Place semolina on the work surface and make a well in the center. Add milk and egg yolks to semolina and mix until the dough comes together. Keep kneading until it becomes a smooth pliable ball, about 15 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting mix whatever filling you are using. Divide your dough into two ounces lumps and roll them, one at a time, until very very thin. You will not be able to get them as thin as phyllo but I roll mine until I can read through it. Try to keep it a round or oval, it makes a prettier finished ciambelle.

apple ciambelle, rolling dough




Black Grape Must

The following recipe is, again, from Scappi (1). This sauce has several steps but it is a delicious sauce and worth it. I developed this recipe quite a few years ago while planning a feast. I was intrigued by the similarities of this sauce and modern day barbeque sauce. Scappi uses it to roast meat over a fire, specifically beef or pork ribs!

To start you need to make grape must or mosto cotto. Fortunately Scappi describes this process. The following recipe makes the grape must and then goes on to make theblack grape sauce sauce. Typically a “must” is a reduction of grape juice by one half volume.

NOTE: As stated in earlier recipes, a pound in Scappi’s Italy is 12 ounces and not the Imperial pound of 16 ounces that we use today. (2)

Original (1)

“Per far sapore d’uva negra

Piglisi l’uva negra, che habbia del sodo, & sia quella che si chiama gropello, cioè cesenese, che ha le cosie rosse, suaghinosi i raspi, & mettanosi a bollire nella cazzuola con foco lento per un’hora, & dapoi piglisi il sugo che tal’una haverà fatto, & colisi per una stamigna,… & per ogni libra di sugo, piglinosi otto oncie di zuccharo fino, & facciasi ribolure in una cazzuola, schiumandolo, & con esso si aggiungerà all’ultimo un poco di sale, & di cannella intera, & facciasi bollire a soco lento, tanto che pigli la cottura, & come sara cotto, conservisi in vasi di netro, ò alberelli invetriat”

Translation (3)

“To Prepare a Black-Grape Sauce

Take black grapes that are rather firm, and they should be of the variety called gropello – that is, a Cesena grape – that are reddish brown on the outside. SOak the bunches and set them to boil for an hour in a casserole pot over a low fire. Then take the juice that those grapes will themselves have made and strain it……For every pound of juice, put in eight ounces of fine sugar and boil it again in a casserole pot, skimming it. Toward the end add a little salt and whole cinnamon into it and boil it slowly until it is cooked. When it is done, put it into glass vessels or glazed jars for keeping.

My Redaction

  • 4 lbs of Black Grapes
  • 2 cups of water

Put the grapes and water in a pot and cook, gently bubbling, for an hour or so. You can gently smash the grapes with a potato masher if you like. Strain the grapes with their juice. I put the grapes through a food mill so that the pulp would be pushed through as well as the juice. This process also removed the skins and the seeds. This yielded 4 1/2 cups of juice. I then put this mixture back in the pot and simmered it for another hour or so until it was reduced by one third. I added a tsp of salt and a stick or two of cinnamon and continued reducing it until it was one half of the original volume.

Scappi would have used a cloth or metal sieve like the one below, for this process

Scappi, Strainer

This drawing is from a series of 27 plates from the back of his Opera, illustrating all the equipment used in his kitchen. (3)

A Bit on Grapes: The grapes that Scappi specifies are

the famoso di Cesena grape, long grown in the Emilia-Romagna section of Italy, was considered extinct when, in 2000, two rows of old vines were discovered. A small number of producers have since worked to revive it, including Villa Venti, whose Serena Bianco is the only famoso I’ve encountered. It’s intensely aromatic and exotic, with flavors of apricots and herbs.” (4)

Scappi uses this basic grape must in several different recipes throughout his Opera. I have used this grape must to make a sauce using the leftover grape pulp, vinegar, cinnamon, pepper, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Scappi says to serve this sauce with roasted pork ribs. Hmmmmm!?


  1. Scappi, Bartolomeo. 1570 Digital copies of the original text, Italian retrieved 7/30/2019
  2. 2) Lambert, Timothy. “A Brief History of Measuring”. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  3. Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570). Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto, Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.






Epityrum or Olive Paste

This is a dish from antiquity. In Greece and Rome this dish was typically served with cheese which is where epityrum gets its name: epityrum = over cheese. It is delicious served with bread as well.

Original (1)

Epityrum album, nigrum, varium sic facito. Ex oleis albis, nigris variisque nucleos eicito. Sic condito. Concidito ipsas addito oleum, acetum, coriandrum, cuminum, feniculum, rutam, mentam. In orculum condito, oleum supra siet. Ita utito.

Translation (2)

Make green, black, or varied epityrum this way. Pit the green, black or varied olives. Season them thus. Chop them, and add oil, vinegar, coriander, cumin, fennel, rue, and mint. Put them in a small jar, with oil on top, and they are ready to use.

NOTE: “Rue is not to be used in pregnancy. The coumarins may cause photosensitivity and skin contact can cause a rash. Large doses may be poisonous.”(3) I have let it out of my redaction based on the above concerns.

My Redaction

  • 3 oz. Green Olives
  • 3 oz. Black Olives
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
  • Cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 2-3 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. White Wine Vinegar

Gently toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan, watching and moving them constantly until they become fragrant. You can add the fennel seeds at the same time or use them untoasted.

Chop the olives until they are as big or small as you want them. I use this as a relish on cheese or bread so I usually chop them on the smaller side. You can leave them whole and serve them as a salad or appetizer.

Mince the cilantro and mint. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. I usually let this set for an hour or so in the refriderater so the flavors can get to know each other.



  1. Cato. Liber de Agricultura. On Agriculture. Translated by Harrison Boyd Ash. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, 1941-1955.
  2. Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini. A Taste of Ancient Rome. Translated by Anna Herklotz. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 1992. Print
  3. Mabey, Richard. The New Age Herbalist. Simon & Schuster Inc. New York. 1988. Print

Carrot Torte

This recipe comes from a Spanish/Catalan manuscript written by Diego Granado called Libro del Arte de Cozina (1)I received this text in 2010 and I can not remember who gave it to me. She sent it in an email because I was researching Spanish dishes for a period feast I was planning. I do know that it was translated by Robin Carroll-Mann.

Original Text

Unfortunately I do not have the original text. This manuscript is housed in a museum or library in Spain. I met the lady who had an electronic version that she received from the translator and she was generous enough to send me a email containing several spanish cooking treatises.

Translation (1)

Torta de Zanahoria (Carrot-Cheese Pie)

Wash and scrape the carrots, and remove them from the water and cook them in good meat broth, and being cooked remove them and chop them small with the knife, adding to them mint and marjoram, and for each two pounds of chopped carrots [use] a pound of Tronchon cheese and a pound and a half of buttery Pinto cheese, and six ounces of fresh cheese, and one ounce of ground pepper, one ounce of cinnamon, two ounces of candied orange peel cut small, one pound of sugar, eight eggs, three ounces of cow’s butter, and from this composition make a torta with puff pastry* above and below, and the tortillon [pie pan?] with puff pastry all around, and make it cook in the oven, making the crust of sugar, cinnamon, and rosewater. In this manner you can make tortas of all sorts of roots, such as that of parsley, having taken the core out of them. 

My Redaction

Note: since I live in the middle of southern podunk nowhere and the nearest grocery stores that aren’t Walmart or Kroger are over 30 minutes from my home, I have substituted cheeses that are available where I live for the spanish cheeses named in this recipe.

My husband Ben is the one who developed the following recipe. He has become my go-to guy for anything involving a dough or paste. He has a natural feel for it and loves doing it!

He redacted this recipe while working on a class he was teaching; A Survey of 16th Century Pie Crusts. I must admit that this “rough puff” pastry dough is my favorite so far. It is very delicate and seems to just melt in your mouth!

The translator of this manuscript, Robin Carroll-Mann, tells us that

“The word used here for pastry, “ojaldre” (“hojaladre” in the modern spelling)                means puff pastry according to my modern Spanish dictionary, and the etymology of the word (from hoja, “leaf”) would seem to indicate that it is the period meaning as well.”

Since  the Spanish treatise does not have a puff pastry so we are using, once again, a recipe from Scappi, Book V recipe 48.

Translation of Dough Recipe (2)

“…then have some doughmade of fine flour and the same amount, by weight of butter, and salt, cold water and rosewater….”

The Dough 

  • 115 grams Butter
  • 115 grams of Flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 drops of Rosewater (optional)
  • 2-4 tbsp. water IF needed

Mix salt into the flour. Cut butter into half inch cubes and work into flour with your fingertips. puff pastry adding butterIf butter becomes too soft from the heat of your hands put the dough mixture into the fridge for 20-30 minutes until it firms up.

butter too warm

Continue working the butter in using a pastry cutter or two knives until the dough resembles course meal.

using two knives

Add the rosewater and enough of the cold water to make in come together into a soft pliable dough. Let the dough rest in the fridge for twenty mintues being using.

finished dough

Roll the out into a circle large enough to cover you pie, leaving enough dough to form a decorative edge.

The Filling

  • 1lb Carrots
  • 9oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 6oz Mozzarella
  • 3 oz. Mascarpone
  • 2 tsp Pepper
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Grated Orange Peel
  • 2 tbsp Juice of the Orange
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 tbsp. Butter

Peel and chop the carrots. Place carrots into a pan of boiling salted water and cook until very tender and soft. Place in a food processor and add the remainder of ingredients and mix until smooth and uniform.

Preheat oven to 350º. Have the pastry made and roll out to fit the pie pan. I flute the edges to make the pie look prettier. Place filling in pie pan. Optional: Mix a little cinnamon and sugar with rosewater and brush on top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden and center is set.

NOTE: Use your best guess at the timing. I usually make small single serving size carrot tortes which take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to cook. Please be watchful.


1) Granado, Diego. Libro del Arte de Cozina. 1599. Translated by Robin Carroll-Mann.  Print.

2) Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570). Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto, Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.




This is the final pasta ripieni (stuffed pasta) from The Pasta Project. I used two recipes: the first is from The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570) and the second is from The Art of Cooking; The First Modern Cookery Book written by The Eminent Maestro Martino of Como in 1465 (1).

I would like to mention that in 15th & 16th century cooking manuscripts, any filling could be used for any pasta. There are several recipes in Scappi that tell you that a filling could be used for any sort of torte or ravioli or even without a “casing”. In Queen Anna’s New World of Words by John Florio, an Italian to English dictionary printed in 1611 (2), he tells us that ravioli is basically a generic term meaning ” a bundle, a cradle, a folding up”. This means that any time we read a historical cooking manuscript, when we see a ravioli, it means that it is any shaped and filled pasta that you want to make.

While ravioli is any generic filled pasta, we also see tortellini and anolini which Scappi differentiates by giving instructions for shaping them and  John Florio tells us that aniline is a diminutive of anello meaning “a small ring”. Scappi describes anolini as “tiny like haricot beans or chickpeas, with their little edges overlapping so they look like cappelletti. So back to john Florio and a cappelletti is “any kind of chaplet or little hat”.


Original Recipe (3)

178. Book II

“Per far tortelletti con pancia di porco, & altre materie dal nullo chiamate annolini

…..e come sara fattatel compositione babbiasi un sfoglio di pasta futto come il sopradeiso, e faccianosi gli anolini piccioli come faggiuolio ceci, e congiunti con li lar pizzetti in modo che siano vennuti a foggia di cappelletti, e quando faranno fatti lascinosi riposare al quanto, e cuocanosi in buon brodo di carne, e servanosi cum cascio, zuccaro, e cannella sopra…..”

Translation (4)

“….When the mixture is made up, get a sheet of dough made as above and with it make tiny anolini like haricot beans or chickpeas, with their little edges overlapping so they look like cappelletti, and cook in good meat broth, and serve with cheese, sugar, and cinnamon on top….”

Original Recipe (3)

179. Book II

“Per far minestra di tortelletti d’herba alla Lombarda

 Piglinosi hiete, o spinacci, taglinosi minute, e lovinosi in piu acque, e strucchisi fuori l’acqua, faccianosi soffriggere con butiro fresco, e con esse ponasi a bollie una brancata d’herbe odorifere, e caninosi, e ponganosi in un vaso di terra o di rame stagnato, e giungauisi cascio parmeggiano grattato, e cascio grasso, dell’uno quanto dell’altro , e pepe, cannella, garofani, zafferano, una passa & uoue crude a bastanza; e se la compositione folle troppo liquida pongauisi pan grattato, ma se sara treppo soda, mettauisi un poco piu di butiro, & babbiasi un sfoglio di pasta fatta mel modo che dice nel e. 176. e faccianosi i tortelletti piccioli, e gradi, sace doli cuocer in buon brodo di carne, e servanosi con cascio, zuccaro, e cannella sopra.”

Translation (4)

“To make soup of herbed tortelletti in the style of Lombard

Take chard or spinach, chop it up small and wash it in several changes of water. Press the water out of it, saute it in fresh butter and set it to boil with a handful of aromatic herbs. Take that out and put it in an earthenware or tinned copper pot, adding in grated Parmesan cheese and a creamy cheese in the same amount, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, saffron, raisins and enough raw eggs. If that mixture is too moist, put in grated bread; if too dry, a little more butter. Have a sheet of dough made up the way that is directed in recipe 176 and make tortellini of various sizes, cooking them in a good meat broth. Serve them garnished with cheese, sugar and cinnamon.”


My Redaction

Printable recipe

Click here for the dough recipe


Please note: The below amounts have already been reduced.

  • 4oz Spinach
  • 4oz Parmesan Cheese
  • 4oz Ricotta Cheese
  • Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1-2 threads of Saffron
  • 1 tsp. Mint, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of Raisins, depending on your preference, ground in a mortar.
  • 2 or more eggs
  • 1 tsp. fresh Marjoram, chopped fine

Wash the spinach and dry it completely. Chop the spinach, mint and marjoram finely. Add them to a small amount of butter and the saffron and sautè them until soft and cooked. Cool completely.

Put spinach mixture into a bowl or food processor and add remaining ingredients using only one egg to start and adding a second if mixture needs it. If using a food processor you can add the raisins whole.

     Keep in mind that the total amount of filling used for one anolini is a scant 1/8 teaspoon so the mixture must be homogenous. While a food processor makes life considerably easier, you will get better results grinding things in a mortar.

Roll the pasta dough (by hand or with a machine) until pretty thin. Cut out small rounds, we used the cap from a rosewater bottle. It was somewhere between a nickel and a quarter in size.

Take a scant 1/8 teaspoon of the filling and place in the center of each round. Barely wet half of the edges and then close it up, pressing the edges firmly to seal. You should have something that looks like a small half circle. Gently wrap this tiny half circle around  the tip of your finger and press the ends together.

Anolini wrap

You should wind up with something resembling the picture below.

Final anolini



  1. Florio, John. Queen Anna’s New World of Words (1611). Scholar Press. 1973. Print.
  2. Como, The Emminent Maestro Martino of.  The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book. 1465. 14 ed. by Luigi Ballerini, translated and annotated by Jeromy Parzen., Regents of the University of California, 2005. Print.
  3. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  4. Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi, The. (1570) Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.

Chicken Tortellini

This tortellini recipe is from “The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi 1570” and was part of the “Pasta Project”. It was written by Bartolomeo Scappi for his apprentice. Scappi was head chef for two popes; Pius IV (1559 –  1565) and Pius V (1566 – 1572) and the funeral for Pope Paul III (1534-1549) and the conclave that elected his successor.

At first glance, this recipe seems unusual to the modern palette. It pairs chicken with cinnamon and other sweet spices. My personal opinion is that Scappi was a culinary genius. He pairs sweet with sour, or agrodulce, with savory creating some of the most delicious historical bites. Let me know what you think of this dish.

The Original Text (1)

“Per fare tortelletti con la polpa di cappone

 Pestinosi nel mortaio due polpa di due petti capponi, che prima erano flatialessati una libre di midolle di bova senza ossa, tre onice di grasso di pollo, e tre di zinna di vitella lessata, e quando ogni cosa sarà pesta, ginnganisi una libre di calcio grasso, otto onice di zuccaro, una onice di cannella, mezza oncia di pepe, zafferano a bastanza, mezza oncia tra garofani e noci moscate, quattro onice d’una pasta di Corinto ben netta, una brancata tra menta, maiorana, & altre herbette odorifere, quattro rossi d’uove fresche, e due con il chiaro, fatta che sarà la detta compositione di modo che non sia troppo salata, sabbiasi una sfoglio di pasta alquanto sottile, fatto di fior di farina, acqua di rosi, sale, butiro, zuccaro, & acqua sepida e con esso sfoglio faccianosi i tortelletti piccioli, e grandi tagliati con lo sperone, o buffolo, e faccianosi cuocere in buon brado di pollo, o d’altra carne grasso, e cervanosi con cascio, zuccaro, e cannella sopra. In questo modosimo modo si potribbe fare di polpe di galline d’India, e pavoni arrostitinello spedo, e di faggiani, e starni, e di altri volatili & sati, e anche di loin boletti di vitella arrostiti nello spedo con grasso di rognone.”

Translation (2)

To Make Tortelletti with Chicken Breast

In a mortar grind the flesh of two capon breasts that have first been boiled with a pound of boneless beef marrow, three ounces of chicken fat, and three ounces of boiled veal udder; when everything is ground up, add in a pound of creamy cheese, eight ounces of sugar, one ounce of cinnamon, half an ounce of pepper, enough saffron, half an ounce of cloves and nutmeg together, four ounces of very clean currant raisins, a handful of mint, sweet marjoram and other common aromatic herbs together, four fresh egg yolks and two with their whites. When the mixture is so made up that it is not too salty, get a rather thin sheet of dough made of flour, rosewater, salt, butter, sugar, and warm water and out of that dough, with a cutting wheel or dough cutter, cut out large or small tortellini. Cook them in a good fat broth of chicken or some other meat. Serve them with cheese, sugar and cinnamon on top. In the same way you can do it with the flesh of spit-roasted turkey hens and peacocks, and of pheasants and partridges and other commonly eaten fowl, and also of veal loin roasted on a spit with kidney-fat. (Scappi 230)


Dough for Tortellini, Anolini and Other Formed Pasta

So again, to make this dish we must first make the dough. Scappi uses this dough for a couple of recipes, specifically tortellini and anolini. I find it intriguing that he has so many different doughs for pasta. The dough we used for the Lobster Ravioli was softer, more pliable and contained white wine and olive oil. Most importantly, it was delicious when fried as Scappi directed.

Dough Redaction

  • 100 grams of Semolina Flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. rosewater
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and work it into the flour mix, rubbing it between your fingers. Add the rosewater and half of the warm water. Mix this until it comes together into a shaggy dough. Knead the dough adjusting the amount of liquid until it forms a smooth supple dough, approximately the consistency of play-dough.

Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes and then roll it thin and cut whatever shapes you will need. In this recipe we cut two inch squares and used these to make tortellini.

Note: This recipe makes enough for hundreds of tortellini. I would recommend halving the below amounts. 

Filling Redaction

Printable recipe

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 12 oz. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 oz. cinnamon
  • 1/2 oz. Pepper
  • 1/2 oz. Nutmeg and Cloves together
  • 1 tbsp. Minced Fresh Mint
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh Marjoram
  • 8 oz. Sugar
  • 1 or 2 threads saffron
  • 4 oz. dried Currants
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 batch of pasta dough

Boil the chicken breasts in water. While the chicken cools pound the currants in a mortar and set aside. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, minced it very fine and place it in the mortar to grind to a fine paste.

chicken filling 1

Mincing Chicken breast


Chicken filling2

Grinding minced chicken

chicken filling 3

Final consistency

When the chicken is a paste like consistency add the ricotta, spices, herbs, currants and eggs. It is important that the filling be ground as finely as possible. Each tortellini contains only one teaspoon, AT THE MOST, probably more like one half to three quarters of a teaspoon.

To form the tortellini, take the two inch squares of dough and place a scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center. Barely wet the edges of half the square and fold it in half from point to point so you have a triangle shape. Now for the tricky part: Take the triangle and wrap it around your finger so that the points on the longest side go around your finger and meet. The final tortellini should look like the one below.

Version 2

Cook the tortellini in a fatted broth. If I do not have homemade stock I have used a store bought stock and added butter or oil for the “fat”. When the tortellini rise to the surface of the water cook them an additional 1-2 minutes. Serve them with a little of the broth and parmesan cheese. Garnish them with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon on top.

This recipe is delicious even though the modern palette finds the combination of chicken and cinnamon odd. During the pasta project these tortellini were the second favorite behind the Lobster Ravioli. Please let me know what you think!

Note: since there is a lot of cinnamon in the filling you can skip this if you would like. I recommend trying it in it’s original form before making alterations. The added cinnamon on top was basically showing off your wealth. Spices were extremely expensive and to sprinkle it on top was a way to let others know your wealth.

Note: This recipe was redacted to enter into a competition so I did exactly what the original text described. You can substitute the spices you prefer. You can also throw everything into a food processor, you do not have to grind it by hand. I will say that you get a smoother final product if you use a mortar and do everything manually.




  1. Scappi, Bartolomeo. 1570 Digital copies of the original text, Italian retrieved 7/30/2019
  2. Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570). Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto, Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.